Software company takes out overall title in New Zealand’s leading export business awards.
An innovative software company that shows the world how to understand what lies beneath the land and the oceans has won
the Supreme Award at the 2018 New Zealand International Business Awards.
Seequent, based in Christchurch, is a global leader in the development of visual data science software. They have
advanced 3D graphic solutions which enable people to create rich stories and uncover valuable insights from geological
data, and ultimately make better decisions about the earth, environment and energy challenges.
The company has staff in 15 locations and serves customers in more than 90 countries worldwide. Seequent also has strong
academic partnerships with the Universities of Canterbury and Auckland.
The judges were impressed with how well Seequent portrayed the emerging story of New Zealand on the global stage –
advanced technology focussed on making the world better, operating in a high-value niche and executed with precision,
tenacity and ambition. Seequent demonstrates how you can grow a global business from New Zealand and have a positive
impact on some of the world’s biggest problems.
Earlier in the night Seequent won the ANZ Best Medium Business Award before being chosen from all section winners for
the overall title.
Thirty-one of New Zealand’s leading export companies made it through to the finals of the awards. They came from around
New Zealand and represented an array of sectors, demonstrating the nation’s business diversity and innovation. The
winners were chosen by an independent panel of 16 judges with extensive experience in growing businesses
The awards were presented at a black-tie dinner in Auckland on Thursday, 8 November.
For the first time at these awards, recognition was given to Inspiring Women Leaders. Seven outstanding businesswomen
were nominated for this award, and the judges could not separate two of the nominees. The joint winners were:
Sarah Kennedy: a CEO for more than 20 years across a number of companies, and now leading Calocurb Ltd in the health and
wellness sector. With a career that has included roles like Vice President International Farming for Fonterra in China
to Managing Director of Healtheries/Vitico NZ Ltd and her current role, Sarah has lived and breathed the benefits of
value-add. In doing so she has helped each company achieve impressive results on the global stage.
Aliesha Staples: the founder of StaplesVR and a high-profile New Zealand producer and pioneer of Virtual Reality,
Augmented Reality and new technologies. Impacting how we imagine, design and create, AR and VR are already changing the
way we experience our lives. Leading the charge for New Zealand is Aliesha Staples. Her company has an impressive roster
of both local and international clients, producing virtual and augmented experiences for the likes of Warner Brothers,
Paramount Pictures, the ABC, Disney and TVNZ.
The New Zealand International Business Awards are run by New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) and supported by
Strategic Partner, ANZ New Zealand Limited. They celebrate the success of New Zealand businesses on the world stage and
recognise excellence and innovative practice.
Over the past 50-plus years, many of New Zealand’s most iconic companies have been celebrated at the awards.
Details of all finalists can be found at www.nziba.co.nz
The winners were:
The Supreme Award (chosen from the winners of all categories)
(see profile below)
He kai kei aku ringa for Māori Excellence in Export
Port Nicholson Fisheries LP
(Company base - Wellington)
Port Nicholson Fisheries is the largest Māori-owned exporter of live lobster. It is also the largest North Island
exporter and second largest nationally. It exports premium quality live lobster from the clean, fresh and pure waters of
New Zealand directly to customers in China, providing them with produce from one of the world’s most pristine and
sustainably managed fisheries.
Its three founding members were Parininihi ki Waitotara
(PKW), Iwi Collective Partnership (ICP) and Ngati Mutunga ki Wharekauri (Chatham Islands)
. In 2016, Moana New Zealand joined as a key limited partner in the business.
Judge Hinemaua Rikirangi said: “Port Nicholson Fisheries won because they were just an outstanding participant and it
was evident that they understood how to apply Māori values and whānaungatanga, and how you bring all of those aspects
together to get a really strong business model. Very strong in relationships and very focussed in terms of their global
reach and where they wanted to target.”
Inspiring Team Leadership
Douglas Pharmaceuticals Ltd
Douglas Pharmaceuticals is a New Zealand success story – a pharmaceutical company with a reputation for high
manufacturing standards, quality products and outstanding client service.
Founded in 1967 by managing director Sir Graeme Douglas, Douglas Pharmaceuticals is one of the fastest growing
pharmaceutical development and manufacturing companies in Oceania. It is currently enjoying significant growth as it
expands to meet international demand. Considerable investment in product development laboratories, a specially-designed
containment suite for steroid manufacture and the provision of fully compliant registration dossiers in CTD format are
examples of its commitment to both the domestic and global market.
Judge David Downs said: “Douglas Pharmaceuticals really stood out for us. You could really see the trust between the
chief executive and the rest of the top leadership team, and the way they all helped each other, referred to each other.
You could also see that they really cared about their organisation, their team, their employees, and the society around
Inspiring Women Leaders:
Sarah Kennedy: Calocurb Ltd (Auckland)
Aliesha Staples: StaplesVR (Auckland)
Judge Miranda Burdon said: “All the nominees had a really great, clear vision. They knew what their purpose was and they
knew what they were trying to achieve.
“Sarah was a standout because of her breadth of market knowledge, her strategic approach to building businesses – and
not just one, she’d done it over and over again – her commitment to the market and her understanding of the dynamics in
play, and continuing to evolve and build the businesses she operated in. She was incredible.
“What made Aleisha really special was her passion and vision for her business. She’s not just running one business
model, she’s running multiple as a component around giving back to the community and social good, and developing people
in her industry. But she’s also growing this incredible global entity, operating with the best practice players around
the world. It’s an incredible story with huge momentum and amazing to hear.’’
ANZ Best Emerging Business:
Auckland BioSciences is a life sciences company sourcing and manufacturing New Zealand biological products for some of
the largest animal pharmaceutical companies in the world.
Exporting to 14 countries after four years of operations, Auckland BioSciences has gained a solid foothold on the
international stage through the consistently high quality of its products, its customer-centric approach to business,
and its strong partnerships in both New Zealand and abroad. The pursuit of excellence in all aspects has been a key part
of the company’s culture and has helped it to stand out on the international stage.
Auckland BioSciences will continue to develop its capabilities in life sciences, leveraging New Zealand’s strong
agricultural roots and investments in technologies to establish New Zealand as a prominent player in the industry.
Judge Sam Witters said: “This company is just exceptional in the way that they have taken a waste product and provided
commercial acumen, deep deep knowledge of this industry and have produced a world-class product. There’s also a kind of
freshness about them, a real joy in listening to them talk about the company and where they’ve got to. I think they’re
really going to be a company to watch and a company that New Zealand will be proud of.”
Highly commended: Method
ANZ Best Medium Business:
Software developer Seequent is a global leader in the development of visual data science software and collaborative
technologies. It develops data visualisation and geological modelling solutions that enable those in the mining and
minerals, civil engineering, environmental, and geothermal energy industries to extract valuable insights from complex
Seequent’s 3D modelling tools and technology are widely applied across industries and projects, including road and rail
tunnel construction, groundwater detection and management, geothermal exploration, resource evaluation and estimation,
and subterranean storage of spent nuclear fuel.
The Christchurch headquartered company has people in 15 locations across its five territories – Asia-Pacific, Africa,
Latin America, North America and Europe – and serves customers in more than 90 countries worldwide.
Seequent also has strong academic partnerships with the Universities of Canterbury and Auckland, and employs many
postgraduate students. Globally, it works alongside 150 universities with its academic software programme.
Judge Michael Whitehead said: “Seequent won because they took us on this journey, the journey from a really good
software company to an even better solutions company. Good tech? That’s sort of table stakes for the game, what they’ve
got is a vision and they’ve executed, and they’ve executed just amazingly well. To achieve what they’ve achieved on the
world stage, it’s just fantastic.”
Highly commended: PikPok
ANZ Best Large Business:
Skyline Luge International
Known for a pioneering spirit and innovation, Skyline Enterprises has been at the forefront of New Zealand tourism since
1966, when the company built a gondola from Queenstown to Bob’s Peak to service a burgeoning restaurant business.
It has since evolved, expanding and diversifying its offering to provide world-class leisure and entertainment
experiences for domestic and international travellers in both New Zealand and overseas.
In addition to luge rides in Queenstown and Rotorua, Skyline has spread to six international locations with more in the
pipeline. Skyline has made significant investments in their offshore operations, and the judges were impressed with
their large-scale international tourism facilities and their ambition in markets as diverse as South Korea, Taiwan,
Singapore and the UK.
Judge Gavin Haworth said: “Skyline Luge International won because of the significant investments they’re making
offshore, because of the strategic focus and direction that they take, they’re very clear on where they want to go and
why they want to go there, and also because of the phenomenal growth they’ve seen in the last few years. They’re
operating outside of New Zealand already, they’re looking to grow into other destinations, and doing all that with
significant revenue growth at the same time.”
Excellence in Innovation:
Serko has been the leading online booking tool for corporate travel in Australasia since the company was established in
2007. It has subsequently expanded its offering into expense management and become a publicly-listed business.
Serko employs more than 100 people across three countries. It services customers in over 25 countries worldwide, with
main markets in North America, the United Kingdom and Europe.
Serko is growing rapidly. Today, many of the largest corporate businesses in Australia, New Zealand and Asia trust Serko
to help them manage their corporate travel programmes and expenses. More than two million people have access to Serko’s
tool, and 60 percent of Australia’s corporate-travel spend passes through Serko every year.
Judge Craig Cotton said: “The reason that Serko won is that CEO Darrin Grafton was able to show a true culture of
innovation, end to end in terms of the processes. The way their people develop their products or services, ultimately
for the end consumer, was outstanding. What was really exciting is that this is a true global opportunity, this could
become a more than billion-dollar company.”
Excellence in Design:
Fisher & Paykel Healthcare
Fisher & Paykel Healthcare has a reputation for delivering world-leading healthcare solutions. Founded 50 years ago, its design
focus is about ‘doing the best for patients’. It’s an approach that hasn’t changed since the company created its first
prototype respiratory humidifier in 1968, and revolutionised the delivery of respiratory humidification to critically
ill hospital patients.
Over the years, the company’s product base has diversified from the invasive ventilation market into obstructive sleep
apnoea, and later into non-invasive ventilation, nasal high-flow therapy and surgical humidification. A feature of its
success has been a consistent focus on its core expertise of heating and humidifying air. Each year, an estimated 10
million patients are treated using products designed and manufactured by Fisher & Paykel Healthcare.
Today, Fisher & Paykel Healthcare employs more than 3,500 people based in 36 countries and serving more than 120 markets.
Judge Noel Blackwell said: “They said of themselves, “we care by design’. The entry was very powerful because of that,
it was integrated throughout the business and the amount of effort they put into it – through R, through testing, engineering and innovation – was spectacular. It was an incredibly powerful performance.”
Inspiring Preference for New Zealand:
New Zealand King Salmon
Everyone likes a good story – it helps us make sense of the world. New Zealand King Salmon uses its unique stories of
people, place and pride to create the ultimate salmon experience, with New Zealand as the backbone for each of its
Ōra King is New Zealand King Salmon’s unique breed of King salmon. Aimed at the premium food-service market, Ōra King is
featured on the menus of more than 1,000 top restaurants worldwide. New Zealand is built into the Ōra King brand
pillars, with values such as leadership, collaboration, honesty, innovation, sustainability and respect conveyed through
Ōra King marketing campaigns.
The company’s Regal Salmon brand is founded on provenance, and tells the story of the Marlborough Sounds, where a unique
mix of currents, water quality and temperatures gives Regal Salmon its flavour, colour, texture and healthy omega-3
fatty acids. New Zealand King Salmon has begun taking the Regal Salmon story to the world, with products in vibrant blue
packaging to represent the cool, deep waters of the Marlborough Sounds.
Judge Rebecca Smith said: “New Zealand King Salmon won this category because of their absolute commitment to sharing
their story all the way through the supply chain, from their own team to their retailers, their distributors and right
through to their consumers. That commitment, that consistency was simply outstanding.”